SAN FRANCISCO – Google is almost everyones favorite search engine, despite misgivings about data-collection and advertising practices that are widely seen as intrusive.
A survey released Friday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found 83 percent of U.S. search engine users rated Google as their preferred search engine. That was up from 47 percent in 2004, the last time that Pew gauged peoples attitudes about Internet search engines.
Yahoos search engine ranked a distant second at 6 percent, according to the latest numbers, down from 26 percent in 2004.
Google Inc. has turned its dominant position in Internet search into a gold mine.
The companys Internet search engine is the hub of an advertising system that generated $36.5 billion in revenue last year – up from $3 billion in 2004.
But the Pew findings also indicate Google may be risking its popularity by trying to learn more about users in a quest to sell more advertising.
Nearly three-fourths of search engine users said they dont want search engines to sift through their personal information to deliver results tailored to their individual interests.
Google has been doing this more frequently since January when its search engine began to include personal information pulled from Googles social networking service, Plus.
More than two-thirds said they dont want to be targeted by customized ads because they dont want their Web surfing activities to be tracked and analyzed.
The poll spanned Jan. 20 through Feb. 19. The changes were announced Jan. 24. The results based on Internet users have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points